JUSTINE Baltazar tipped in the winning basket at the buzzer as National University survived gritty Adamson, 68-66, on Saturday in the UAAP Season 78 juniors basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The 6-foot-7 Baltazar rose from a phalanx of rebounders to tip in a teammate's miss just before the buzzer sounded. The referees ruled the basket beat the game clock after a video review.
Baltazar finished with 12 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks in the thrilling win by NU, which won for the ninth time in as many outings but not after encountering a big scare from Adamson.
The Baby Falcons fell behind by as many as 15 points but turned to their running game to launch a fourth-quarter comeback capped by an EJ Agbong three-pointer that tied the game at 66 with 13.2 seconds to play.
Adamson's celebration proved shortlived, however, as the Bullpups scored on the final play.
NU coach Jeff Napa, though, was not happy with the close victory, left steaming by the fact that the Bullpups were outscored by Adamson, 8-25, in bench points.
“Hindi kami mapupunta sa ganitong sitwasyon kung nag-step up ‘yung bench. Masyadong mabigat ‘yung minutes ng mga starters,” said Napa.
John Lloyd Clemente had 20 points while Rhayyan Amsali had 16 points including a basket that put NU ahead at 66-63 with 34 seconds to play.
Agbong finished with 13 points while Ralf Chua and Jayson Celis had 12 points each for the Baby Falcons.